During a press briefing in Ontario County earlier this month, Cuomo touted New York State’s economy. He cited labor force numbers when asked about a report on the START-UP NY program. The program produced fewer jobs in the past year than some would have liked.
"You know that the economic development projects are working very well, and you know the economic development policy of the state is working very well because it’s in the numbers," Cuomo said. "This is all you need to know. We created 800,000 new jobs. We cut the unemployment rate almost in half. And, today New York State has more private sector jobs than it has ever had in its history, period, game over. It's working," Cuomo said.
During a time when voters are split on the state’s direction, we checked the numbers to find out if Cuomo’s claim checks out.
800,000 new jobs
Cuomo’s office says the 800,000 new jobs refers to those added in the private sector since he took office in 2011.
New York State had 7,094,300 jobs in the private sector the month before Cuomo began his first term, according to the state Department of Labor. Since then, employment has mostly gone up each month, with the exception of nine months scattered across his two terms as governor.
The latest number from the Department of Labor showed 7,889,000 private sector jobs as of May 2016. That’s just below 795,000 additional jobs in the private sector since Cuomo’s first month in office. So that part of his claim checks out.
Cutting unemployment in half
Cuomo’s claim about the unemployment rate being cut "almost in half" also refers to time since he took office in 2011.
When he entered office, the statewide unemployment rate was 8.4 percent. That includes New York City, Long Island and the rest of the state.
Although unemployment steadily climbed from 2011 to 2012, the governor correctly claims the unemployment rate is lower since he took office. By May, the unemployment rate had dropped to 4.7 percent, almost half what it was when Cuomo took office.
More private sector jobs than ever
Cuomo also claimed New York State had more private sector jobs than ever before in the state’s history.
Much like the state’s population, the workforce has inched up over time.
The state seasonally adjusts its jobs report, taking into account seasonal jobs like construction work in the summer and retail employment during the holiday season at the end of the year.
Before Cuomo took office, the number of private sector jobs peaked at nearly 7.3 million in April 2008, when David Paterson served as governor. The nearly 7.9 million such jobs in May, as reported by the Labor Department, shows Cuomo’s claim to be true. There are now more private sector jobs in New York State than there has ever been before. There are also more people living in New York State than ever before, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. So the labor force has grown over time as well.
During a press briefing in Ontario County, Gov. Cuomo told a group of reporters that 800,000 jobs had been created, the unemployment rate fell by almost half, and the state had more private sector jobs than ever before.
We reviewed data from the Department of Labor to check Cuomo’s claim. We rate it to be True.
Email conversation with Richard Azzopardi, spokesperson for Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
Email conversation with Cullen Burnell from the New York State Department of Labor
Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates, NYS Department of Labor, Accessed July 11, 2016
Seasonally Adjusted Private Sector Jobs, NYS Department of Labor, Accessed July 11, 2016
Siena Poll, June 2016, Accessed July 11, 2016
"Start-Up NY created 332 jobs during 2015, state report says", The Buffalo News, July 2, 2016, Accessed July 12, 2016
"Statement From Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb (R,C-Canandaigua) On The Start-Up NY Report", July 6, 2016, Accessed July 12, 2016
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